Henderson chief sets sights on Asia growth

The UK-based manager’s Asia head, Alexander Henderson, is seeking fresh blood in a drive to build the regional product and distribution offering of Henderson Global Investors.
Henderson chief sets sights on Asia growth

UK-based manager Henderson Global Investors is setting out on a renewed Asia expansion drive in a bid to globalise its equities, fixed income and emerging markets capabilities.

Alexander Henderson, managing director for Asia, tells AsianInvestor he is looking to extend its regional product and distribution offering and increase its fund management presence. “We want to build and need to have more Asian product because Asians buy Asia,” he says.

Henderson Global Investors has $100 billion in AUM, of which $6.8 billion is sourced from Asia-Pacific. It has offices in Singapore (Asia HQ), Hong Kong, Tokyo, Beijing, Sydney and New Delhi.

It has 11 fund managers and five dealers in Singapore focused on equity. Henderson notes the firm’s strength is in regional and global sector funds, notably property and global technology.

But he says he wants to add senior equity investment staff as it looks to add a stronger Asian flavour to its global products, with a view to building an Asia-specific product suite as well.

“Global equity, global equity income, global fixed income and global emerging markets are the core things we want to bed down with greater emphasis as a group as a whole, and that will be relevant to Asia,” he states.

“We want a greater presence of Asian equity managers to be in Asia rather than split 50:50 between London and Singapore, which is our Asian investment management hub.”

While equity is his priority, Henderson says he will also be seeking fixed income personnel to strike a better balance within its investment team in Asia. Its fixed income team is headed by Jim Irvine in London and is European-centric at present.

When it comes to hiring, Henderson says discussions are continuing over how and when to increase the number of fund managers in Asia. This may be done through transfers or via external hires.

However, he concedes that as a group the priority is building out in the US, where it has had a presence since 1999 after acquiring US real estate manager Phoenix Realty Advisers. It has offices in Chicago and Hartford.

As a house, Henderson Global Investors has 54% of assets in equities, 26% in fixed income, 19% in property and 2% in private equity. By channel it is 45% institutional and 44% retail, with 11% for Phoenix.

But Henderson confirms his aim is to get more resources for Asia. As such he has hired Mabel Chan from UBP Asset Management (Asia) as head of retail distribution for Asia. She replaces Tan Suyin, who is reassigned to head of Southeast Asia distribution in Singapore and reports to Chan.

Presumably the thinking is to add someone with more regional experience to take the retail business forward while providing a voice to persuade London of the investment case for Asia.

Further, Henderson Global Investors announced this week it had hired Shiro Tsubota from Pimco as its Japan CEO to drive a build-out of its product and distribution capabilities in the country. He replaces Takashi Muramatsu, who is retiring but has agreed to continue in an advisory capacity.

A spokesperson for UBP Asset Management (Asia) confirms that Chan left at the end of September and has been replaced by Ted Holland, who is set to start in the middle of this month as head of sales for Asia ex-Japan based in Hong Kong.

Tsubota was previously head of Pimco’s operations for Japan and has been replaced there by Sachiko Nojima courtesy of an internal promotion.

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